The latest post for a renku session appears on our Home page each Thursday. If you don’t see it on the Home page, click this link to view the Renku Post Archive.
The latest post also appears in the Troutswirl blog. If you don’t see it on the first page of the blog, click the link for page two.
You might want to visit our Archive of Completed Renku, a collection of renku completed on our site.
Here are two important resources that are indispensable for anyone interested in renku.
- William F. Higginson’s Renku Home website, established in 2000-07
- John E. Carley’s Renku Reckoner, online at Darlington Richards
About The Renku Sessions
Renku is the modern version of the ancient Japanese art of haikai-no-renga, now usually shortened to renga. Renga was a complex collaborative literary (and often drinking) game played by Japanese nobility beginning in the twelfth century, following rules of formal sequencing (for example, a 5-7-5 on verse (kami-no-ku) followed by a 7-7 on verse (shimo-no-ku), but without semantic or content connections with other verses in the sequence). Certain topics (such as the moon, and flowers) were predetermined to appear at specified locations in the poem. For a more complete history of the form, see Hiroaki Sato’s 100 Frogs: From Renga to Haiku to English (New York: Weatherhill, 1983).
Renku varies in complexity according to the experience and skill of the participants. It is actively practiced in Japan with a high degree of sophistication, but in cultures and languages where the form is less established, enforcement of its tenets is generally much less stringent. Like any game, mastery of its fine points heightens the pleasure one receives when accomplishing its goals. Our hope is to create an atmosphere of fun and learning for all our participants.
The Renku Sessions was one of the first ideas we identified when we created the Foundation, feeling that we would like to offer a participatory activity for our readers that honored historical traditions within the haiku community while actively engaging contemporary practice. There are several schools of renku, and over time we hope to offer you opportunities to participate in them all. Renku participants with experience leading sessions in other styles are encouraged to contact us. We are primarily interested in 20- or 36-verse sessions.
Welcome to THF renku. Have fun!